Peader Tóibín, the leader of the new political party Aontú, has stressed that migration is a "natural part" of modern life - but called for a "respectful and responsible debate around this issue".
It follows weekend comments where he suggested there should be a debate on a "sustainable" immigration policy.
Speaking at the party's national launch, Deputy Tóibín told The Irish Times: “Our view is very simple, there needs to be sustainable levels of immigration in this country, it needs to be managed."
The former Sinn Féin deputy - who left his former party after he opposed their stance on abortion - was criticised on social media in the wake of the remarks.
On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, Deputy Tóibin spoke further about his party's stance.
He observed: "Many migrants come to Ireland and make a very important contribution to Ireland - the health service and many parts of our economy would not function unless there was migration.
"But we also made the point as well that there are some people in society - many people especially in working class areas - who feel that they are in competition with migrants for scarce resources.
"It is our view that the reason there may be competition is not because of the migrant, but it is because of this government and the fact that they have withdrawn investment into resources like housing over a long period of time."
"Respectful and responsible debate"
The Aontú leader said his party's key point is that it's important to not suppress the debate around immigration.
Deputy Tóibín argued: "It's really important that there is a respectful and responsible debate around this issue, and that the issue is not ceded to those who would be on the far-right etc... If it is, then it becomes difficult in the future.
"If we don't have a debate, somebody else will have that debate - somebody like an Irish Nigel Farage will emerge."
He said he wants the Government to have a plan, and that migration should be 'sustainable'.
Asked more generally about suggestions that calling for an immigration debate represents a 'dog whistle', Deputy Tóibín claimed such a suggestion is 'a nonsense'.
He said: "If you use the word dog whistle, what you mean is don't even broach this particular subject - because if you do we will say you're trying to cause and ferment trouble."
Meanwhile, the Immigrant Council of Ireland says a reasonable, informed debate is needed on migration.
CEO Brian Killoran said there is room for such debate so ideas around the issue 'don't fester'.
He explained: "[We need a debate] which is informed by data, and is informed by the overall view that it's healthy for Ireland to have a migration system.
"We need to plan for it, and we need to invest in it to make sure it remains positive."
He suggested: "What happens around public sentiment is when you don't have that data... ideas can fester that aren't based on fact."